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Ambassador Spotlight: Mariel Harrison

When Mariel first joined Runwell, she had just started running 5K races. She'd been in recovery a while, but was ready to be the runner she'd dreamed of being. She's now that runner. She's also an advocate, an author, a wife, and an inspiration. She's proof there are endless possibilities in recovery, and we couldn't be happier she chose Runwell. 


Runwell welcomes Mariel Harrison as their newest ambassador! Hailing from Point Pleasant, New Jersey, she is actually pretty new to running, and she's interested in connecting with other runners for guidance and running tips. We reached out to her to find out a little about Mariel and the motiviation behind joining Runwell as an ambassador. 

Short history of your relationship with addiction

I am a young person in long-term recovery from substance use disorder - which for me means that I have not used a drug or taken a drink since May 2007. For the majority of my teenage years I was afflicted with alcohol and drug addiction. Addiction derailed my life - leaving me bankrupt emotionally, financially, physically and spiritually, as a homeless prostitute at the age of 20. My journey since entering recovery has been incredible – full of joy, love, laughter, purpose, faith, service, compassion and courage.

History as a runner

I actually just ran my first 5K in September and I am running a second one on November 2nd. Running has been truly triumphant for me. I have always wanted to run. However I have always told myself that I had weak lungs due to my addiction - and that running for me was simply not possible. Doing this last 5K was a real eye-opener that I am self-limiting and that anything is possible if you work hard and believe in yourself.

What are some of your goals as a runner? 

Keep on keeping on! The sky's the limit!

Next race?

5K November 2nd 2014

Favorite thing about running?

I find it empowering.

What are some challenges you have faced as a young person in recovery? Experiences with others stigmatizing addiction negatively?

Major challenges include obtaining education, employment and housing. Being an addict and being a felon have caused serious barriers in those three areas.

Challenges as a new runner?

Stamina. Feeling like I am out of breath. Ankles hurt.

Why did you decide to get involved with Runwell?

I very much believe that recovery must have a component of physical health and well being - and I appreciate that Runwell promotes that.

Interested in becoming a Runwell ambassador? 

With supporters like Mariel, we lift the stigmas associated with addiction by developing a community of like-minded individuals and athletes with a passion for helping lead their communities toward better health. Our work provides addiction recovery solutions through funding existing treatment scholarship programs along the continuum of care. Runwell is able to award these grants through the funds and awareness achieved by volunteers like Mariel, and the rest of the Runwell ambassadors - thank you! To join us or learn more, click here! 

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